New survey reveals that 82 per cent of the affluent have set new life goals post-pandemic, but many are not taking the actions needed to reach them
Singapore – Standard Chartered’s latest survey into affluent consumers in 12 markets revealed that 82 per cent of them have reset their life goals following the pandemic. At the same time, for 42 per cent of the respondents, COVID-19 has diminished their confidence in their finances, preventing them from taking the actions necessary to achieve their new goals.
The survey, which covered the wealth spectrum from the emerging affluent to high net worth (HNW) consumers, shows that COVID-19 has prompted the affluent to become more future-focused, with reset priorities. The top three goals uncovered were improving personal health (44 per cent), setting aside more money for their children’s futures (39 per cent) and ensuring a more comfortable retirement (38 per cent).
To meet these new goals, the affluent need new strategies to grow their wealth, which often involves more proactive investment rather than just saving cash. However, their current ‘confidence gap’ has made many increasingly averse to risk, potentially stopping them from putting their money to work through investing or making use of digital tools that simplify wealth management.
Overall, almost all the affluent who had set new goals see at least one factor holding them back from achieving them. These are largely driven by a lack of confidence: for more than a third it’s market volatility (34 per cent) and for almost as many, the fear of poor returns (29 per cent).
The ‘confidence gap’ is greater for the emerging affluent
The emerging affluent have disproportionately suffered a loss of confidence, with almost half (47 per cent) reporting less confidence compared with 30 per cent of HNW individuals. That means those lower down the wealth spectrum, still establishing their finances, stand to lose out more if they do not get support to rebuild their confidence.
Retirement is at risk
A late start to retirement planning, combined with the pandemic-induced confidence gap, leaves a significant proportion of affluent consumers at risk of a shortfall for their retirement. The survey found that 35 per cent of respondents who are not yet retired have not started saving for retirement – yet almost two-fifths (38 per cent) of them anticipate depending on investment income in retirement, suggesting a significant gap between current actions and future expectations.
The affluent can benefit from a more proactive approach
Almost all (94 per cent) of investors who had tried more than five new investments or investment strategies reported being happy with their finances. Whether it is diversifying into new asset classes, rebalancing their portfolios, or exploring sustainable investing, the survey revealed that more hands-on investors are happier with their finances.
Marc Van de Walle, Global Head of Wealth Management, Standard Chartered, said: “Saving in cash will not cover longer lifespans and new priorities, so it is essential for the affluent to invest for the long term. They need to take charge of their finances and build diversified investment portfolios to meet their new goals, including a comfortable and timely retirement. If they do not act now, they may stand to miss out.”
He added: “Affluent consumers across the wealth spectrum can benefit from professional advice to help them manage their finances. We hope this report raises awareness to the risks posed by the confidence gap and are committed to help by offering personalised advice and convenient digital access to the wealth management solutions most suited to their goals.”
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About the Wealth Expectancy Report 2021
On behalf of Standard Chartered, Portland Communications conducted a 20-minute online survey of 15,649 affluent (covering the wealth spectrum from emerging affluent to HNW) respondents across 12 markets between 30 June and 26 July 2021. The samples per market were: Hong Kong (1,076), India (1,501), Indonesia (1,523), Kenya (1,598), Mainland China (1,505), Malaysia (1,037), Pakistan (1,556), Singapore (1,056), South Korea (1,082), Taiwan (1,041), UAE (1,053), and the UK (1,621).
Find out more here.